Friday, December 26, 2008

Media incorrectly defines act by German doctors as euthanasia.

A recent article in the United Press ( incorrectly defined euthanasia.

The article titled:German court clears euthanasia docs is wrong.

The article stated:
Paul Schoenle, the former head of neurology at a rehabilitation center in Magdeburg, Germany, and physician Frantisek Kovacic were cleared of charges Monday after a Hamburg court determined they had acted ethically in the case of Briton Timothy Sanders, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Schoenle had been charged with manslaughter while Kovacic was charged with being an accessory to manslaughter after they allowed the brother of the fatally ill and paralyzed Sanders to turn off his breathing apparatus in May 2004, the broadcaster said.

Sanders had been paralyzed since an accident in 2002 and could not breathe unaided. He died minutes after his brother Paul turned off the machines in a case of euthanasia, prosecutors said.

"The court found that the doctors behaved correctly both ethically and medically," a court spokeswoman said following the ruling, which determined that Sanders had already been terminally ill when his life was ended, Deutsche Welle reported.

According tot he article Dr. Paul Schoenle turned off the respirator that enabled Timothy Sanders to breath. But, turning off a breathing machine is not euthanasia.

Sanders died a natural death that resuled from his medical condition. Nobody denied Sanders oxygen, it was available, but due to his medical condition, he was unable to breath effectively. If Schoenle had put a bag over his head to deny him oxygen, then they would have caused his death.

There is a difference between killing and letting someone die. Sanders was not killed but let to die.

Euthanasia is the intentional cause of death, whereby the person dies from the action or omission that is done to cause death. When a person dies from a medical condition, then it cannot be euthanasia.

Since I do not know all the facts of the case I can only say that the charge of manslaughter was probably also incorrect. got the story wrong, the real question that the German court decided was whether or not their act was ethically correct or not. The court found that the doctors behaved correctly both ethically and medically. If there is any conflicting evidence in this case, I would certainly like to hear it.

Link to previous article about Killing or Letting Die:

Link to the article from the United Press International:

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